By Aaron R.
A little preface before I get into my solution. I based my solve primarily on the poem, giving it as straight-forward a reading as I possibly could—no hidden meanings or code-type solutions. I don’t know whether this is the correct approach, its just the only one I was smart enough to attempt. I ended up with no Indulgence, but perhaps some of my thoughts will aid my fellow searchers. In any event, I was able to take my first ever trip to the Rocky Mountains which was a beautiful and spiritual experience beyond my ability to put into words. Also, I didn’t take as many pictures of the clues as I would have liked, sorry. In any event, here it what I came up with:
“Begin it where warm waters halt”— I chose Leadville Colorado. Just above Leadville is a point where three major watersheds halt (waters). All of these watersheds eventually end up in the Gulf of Mexico (warm). There is also a major molybdenum mine at this point (riches new) and this was a popular area for gold mining during the Colorado gold rush (riches old). Also, as other searchers have noted, Leadville is the highest incorporated town in the US– 10,200 feet. There is an airstrip and a hertz rental so Forrest could have hidden the treasure in a single day if he flew himself up. Finally, Forrest said he followed the clues when he hid the treasure. Any way you drive from Leadville you will, by necessity, have followed the clues.
“And take it in the canyon down, Not far, but too far to walk.”– For the longest time I was thinking that the canyon started right at WWWH and that you took it in the canyon not far, but too far to walk. After reading for the 1,000th or so time, I saw a different possibility. “Not far, but too far to walk” refers to “down”, as in the canyon itself is located some distance away from WWWH. I choose the canyon just below Red Cliff, Colorado.
Its about 21 miles from Leadville, too far to walk, but a fairly short drive. One feature I liked about this canyon is that a road runs along its rim—about 500 feet up from the bottom. Plus, its easily accessible via abandoned railroad tracks. Another bonus that I didn’t realize until I was walking the tracks is that red raspberries grow along the entire canyon, and they were ripe as I made the hike. Perfect Snacking!
“Put in below the home of Brown.”—This is one I’m really upset that I didn’t take a picture of, but I’ll show the satellite photo that attracted me to the feature:
I noticed that the cliff side had a very particular shade of brown coming down from the top. In person it is even more dramatic. To me it appeared to be as close to a “true” brown as you can get. I did some research and the color is emanating from an abandoned mine called the Champion mine. The primary mineral mined from Champion was siderite. Siderite’s primary use is as pigment for brown paint. To me, this sounded like the mine is the “home” of “Brown”—literally the color brown. As for the capitalization, I’m not sure. Maybe its because he was personifying Brown by giving it a home, maybe it’s a poet’s way of saying “brown” itself—the color. In any event, it’s the best “home of Brown” I had come across that wasn’t related to a person.
“From there it’s no place for the meek,
The end is ever drawing nigh;”– I’m not sure if there are two clues here, or just one. I had identified Petersen creek from satellite photos as the place I wanted to go. I had no idea if I could get up there safely from the canyon. Luckily, it turns out that I could. I believe that “no place for the meek” means that its time to leave the comfortable path—in this case the railroad tracks. Just below the Champion mine, the side of the canyon gave way and I was able to head up into the trees. It was off to the left, but I’m not sure if nigh is a clue for turning left or not, but a left turn into the brush is what I made.
“There’ll be no paddle up your creek”– Petersen creek drops steeply down the canyon wall. No paddling or even wading up this creek.
“Just heavy loads and water high.”—As I made my way up towards the creek, I could hear rushing water before I even arrived. There were several smaller waterfalls and huge boulders on either side of the creek.
The picture doesn’t do it justice. You can barely see it, but the waterfall continues above, through the branches. This is about 200 feet up from the railroad tracks.
At this point I was pretty jacked. I can honestly see how people get hurt looking for the treasure given how I was acting at this spot. All though of personal safety was out the window. Although it wasn’t life threatening, I could have easily broken a leg scrambling over rocks and criss-crossing the stream looking for a blaze. Full. On. Treasure Mode.
Then I saw it. I looked up and saw this large rock looked EXACTLY like a face. I jumped because it was so startling. Of course, I took a picture of it, and of course the picture was nowhere on my phone when I had left the area. Sorry. I climbed up– not too difficult—and looked all around. Over, under, sideways, standing on top looking down, sitting on top looking down, sitting underneath . . . and on and on. Nothing.
I only spent about an hour looking over the area, but it wasn’t too large of a spot. No other signs of a blaze (maybe I’m not wise enough) and no chest. There were remains of mining structures in the area and signs of recent rock falls. If the chest had been hidden at this spot, there’s no way one could be comfortable that it would remain intact for 10 years, let alone 100. Plus I couldn’t see any mountains given how narrow the canyon was. Still, it was pretty exciting. I felt like I found things that could have represented 8 clues, but close doesn’t count in the chase.
Maybe someone will read something here that helps them find the treasure. As for me, I might be done. My only goal in this was to find a spot where the treasure could be located and go on an adventure to try and find it. Mission accomplished!